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Researchers Discover SS7 Flaw, Allowing Total Access To Any Cell Phone, Anywhere

swb Re:Hardware Security (83 comments)

No, they cancelled the line. I had a change in my financial aid and ended up living at home for another year. When I found that out I actually did get the extra line again but I couldn't get the old phone number, I had to get another phone number.

yesterday
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Researchers Discover SS7 Flaw, Allowing Total Access To Any Cell Phone, Anywhere

swb Re:Hardware Security (83 comments)

Even the phone company used to do it wrong.

Before I left for college in '85, we had a second phone line (which basically became my line). When I went away, my parents got it disconnected. When I came home the first summer I didn't know it was disconnected. I connected my phone back to the jack and sure enough, had a dialtone.

I made calls for several weeks until my friends kept complaining that my number didn't work, said it was disconnected. I called Ma Bell and found out it was disconnected!

The line from our house to the pole-mounted junction box was still there but the pair for "my" line got repurposed for an additional line in the neighborhood and nobody ever thought to remove the extra jumper.

yesterday
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

swb Re:Hope they win this case. (462 comments)

I kind of doubt it. States enjoy sovereign immunity thanks to the 11th Amendment and generally can't be sued by other states.

Without this, you would have all manner of lawsuits about neighboring states tax laws, liquor and cigarette control regimes, abortion, etc. Bigger states could dominate smaller states via sheer resources.

yesterday
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Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

swb Arrest increase because they're looking for it? (462 comments)

Chappell, NE is a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it town of 929 on I-80 between North Platte, NE and Cheyenne, Wyoming. A 400% increase in felony drug arrests sounds like a lot, but how many felony drug arrests could there ever have been in a town of 929? Did we go from 1 to 4?

I also wonder how many shitkicker rural sheriffs in neighboring states went on full batshit alert once Colorado legalized it and began pulling over every car they could with out of state license plates coming from Colorado, knowing that they would hit paydirt on at least some of them? You can pretty easily create your own crisis if you start looking for it.

To be fair to the sheriffs, I don't doubt there is some increased amount of pot leaving Colorado -- it's a tourist destination even without pot and it wouldn't surprise me at all if people who go there for other reasons (like skiing or other outdoor activities) decide to bring some home.

It also wouldn't surprise me if some people went there specifically to bring some home, although from what I've been told the retail pricing isn't all that competitive on a dollar basis with black market pot and the economics of driving cross-country to pick up a couple of ounces of weed don't seem to lend themselves to a lot of people deciding to make that trip.

I don't think you can factor in any kind of organized criminal enterprises into these complaints -- that was a "problem" *before* it was legalized. Bitching about it now because you're frothed up about pot legalization and seeing it everywhere you look just seems paranoid.

yesterday
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Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

swb Re:Core business? (219 comments)

I thnk their core business WAS the web directory but that seemed to become irrelevent and less useful once Google came around. Their age and size has allowed them a certain amount of inertia with users who simply don't know or care for anything better.

I think there's some value in a high-quality curated web directory. Given what Wikipedia accomplishes with volunteers and no advertising, I would think that Yahoo could have come up with some way to basically pay people to browse the web and curate a directory given the money they have to spend.

Google search is better in some regards and use cases but in some ways, if it isn't on the first page of results it probably won't be useful, especially if you don't know what to search for or are looking for a class of information or type of web site.

But they seemed to have given up on that in favor of "web services" which they probably can't ever compete with. Their technology isn't competitive, they don't have any media clout and nothing unique to offer.

2 days ago
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Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

swb Re:Stupid (391 comments)

I agree with this in principle, but I worry that there's a certain naivete to it -- making surveillance harder will not cause the security apparatus to give up mass surveillance.

In a world with only limited use of encryption, surveillance was generally a matter of just listening, and targets that used encryption were either immune because of the extra effort and/or low profile but if they were high enough profile, they were attacked through other more resource intensive vectors.

In a world of mass encryption, the security apparatus will instead attack the infrastructure of encryption -- root CAs, encryption technologies and software, neutralizing the value of encryption and eliminating the utility value of it while retaining all the costs to the implementer (CAs, extra CPU cycles, complexity, etc). I think it also destroys trust in some existential way, which may be one of the worst aspects of this.

I think the entire encryption system needs to become decentralized in some way that forces attacks on encryption to be more difficult. Locally generated keys without the need for centralized trust seems to be part of the solution, but the existing CA system provides the trust component making it more difficult to rely on random keys.

2 days ago
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11 Trillion Gallons of Water Needed To End California Drought

swb How much of that cost is power? (322 comments)

Versus the equipment to actually perform the desalination?

California has some pretty big wind farms and one of the issues with wind power is its availability when the grid can't accept the power. I wonder how much capacity goes unused and whether it would make sense to direct that power to a desalination facility that could provide a working load for the power in a scalable way that could be quickly and granularly spun up and down inversely to grid demand for that power.

The power the wind farms can generate but isn't absorbable into the grid is kind of free energy in a way and it would seem to make sense to do useful work with it like desal.

3 days ago
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Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

swb Re:Sympton of a bigger problem (594 comments)

Time spent on a bus is time not spent concentrating on traffic. Relax, read a book, maybe do some work.

Gack.

I remember long bus rides. In the summer, it was kind of 50-50 you'd get a bus with air conditioning. No AC? Now you sweat like a pig, which is really awesome on the way into work. This was marginally less oppressive on the way home, but only marginally less oppressive because when you got home you could strip off your sweaty clothes.

In the winter not enough heat wasn't the problem, too much heat was. Since I had to walk six blocks to the stop and wait at least 10 minutes, I had to dress for whatever outside was like in Minnesota in January, which usually meant dressing for 10-20F. Then you get on the bus and it's like entering a crematorium -- the heat blowing batshit, making it like 80 degrees. And it's crowded and you can only take off so much of your winter stuff, because there's no room to put any of it.

I did do a fair amount of reading, but working? The buses I rode were all like coach airline seats (although not as extreme as coach has recently become). There was no room to practically use a laptop and of course no tray table or anything to put it on.

I eventually gave up the bus and plowed an extra $200/month into a paid parking spot and it was actually LESS stressful. The climate control worked. The seating more comfortable. And despite periodic traffic headaches, it was less stressful to commute for 25 minutes in my car than to wait 10-15 minutes outside for the bus, sit on the bus for 45-50 minutes, and then walk another six blocks to get home. The daily one-way trip time from door-door was almost double on the bus.

It will be a cold day in hell before I commute on a bus again. I might be swayed if I had less than a five minute walk, the stop was climate controlled, and the ride actually on par with driving time AND the seating approximated a first class airline seat in terms of room and a tray table, etc.

5 days ago
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Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive

swb Re:Just in time. (219 comments)

With 8 TB drive sizes I would think you would want double parity and some kind of hotspare. The rebuild times on that could be glacial.

about a week ago
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Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

swb Re:How about criminal charges ... (515 comments)

I think they do this already -- a recent newspaper article about our local police department detailed a half-dozen officers terminated for various reasons.

But I think it begs the larger question of what remaining officer morale is like if the kinds of "fire 'em all" mindset towards swift and harsh discipline takes place.

I'm not trying to defend bad police behavior, I'm trying to put into the context of a bunch of highly unionized employees who aren't trivially monitorable like $10/hr clerical employees working in some 3,000 square foot desk farm.

There are ways (and I'm sure most experienced officers know them) of simply doing less that no level of oversight can measure let alone measure to the level that satisfies union work rule disciplinary procedures. Sure, fire them all, but who the hell are you going to be hiring to do the job?

about a week ago
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Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

swb Re:How about criminal charges ... (515 comments)

It's a common theme, but it begs the question -- do we just live in a state of anarchy now, where the "order" the police provide is merely illusory and most people are law abiding because of social convention, etc? Or does policing actually provide some kind of utility function to maintaining order?

about a week ago
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Once Again, Baltimore Police Arrest a Person For Recording Them

swb Re:How about criminal charges ... (515 comments)

I wonder about this, but I also wonder what the secondary of effects of harsh punishments would be. What happens if the police end up being just deliberately ineffective?

It's not like they don't have myriad ways to be ineffective that are basically impossible to control or punish -- evidence lost, conclusions not reached, investigations short-shrifted.

Maybe some or all of these happen now, but could they get worse and what would the larger effect be?

about a week ago
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LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES

swb What's state of the art in UI scaling? (179 comments)

It doesn't seem to be in Windows 8.1 from my experience on a Surface Pro 2 -- it's a nice display and very high resolution, but it's scaling options leave a lot to be desired.

I can only imagine the same phenomenon would be true on super high resolution screens, although a lot of people seem to like 4k monitors, but it's hard to know what these would be like in day-day usage.

Incredible pixel density is nice, but it seems like (IMHO, anyway) that UIs and applications need to have a lot more flexibility about how they work with very high resolution displays.

about a week ago
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James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

swb Re:Watson is a scientist (235 comments)

The pope is invited to parliaments and international diplomacy as if he was somehow especially smart or important.

The pope is treated as having political importance not because of the efficacy of his theology but because he is the spiritual leader of 1+ billion Catholics, a large portion of which actually believe in the doctrine of papal infallibility.

about two weeks ago
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An Algorithm To Prevent Twitter Hashtag Degeneration

swb Re:Bennett discovers moderation (162 comments)

I think users have been clamoring for years for a way to moderate stories but I'm pretty sure CmdrTaco and the other original founder/editors never wanted it implemented out of sheer ego to prevent their genius story ideas from being moderated into oblivion.

about two weeks ago
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Feds Plan For 35 Agencies To Collect, Share, Use Health Records of Americans

swb Re:Opt-Out Strategy (209 comments)

I'm curious how data sharing works in those countries with nationalized health systems. I'd wager there's at least as much information sharing there as anywhere else.

about two weeks ago
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Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality

swb Re:Shakedown (127 comments)

The urban poor can't afford Internet? Every time I drive through "poor" urban areas, I'm always amazed at the forest of DISH/DirecTV dishes on apartments. Half the time I wonder if its not an NSA branch office or occupied by a NASA tracking station.

AFAIK most cities who signed cable franchise agreements required the entire city to be wired. While I'm sure more affluent areas were wired first, I seriously doubt my own city (Minneapolis) isn't universally wired 30 years later.

And 80% of the population is urban, and I would wager that number is slightly higher for African Americans, meaning that most of them live in areas with accessible broadband.

about two weeks ago
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How One Man Changed the Ecology of the Great Lakes With Salmon

swb Re:Why not fish for lamprey? (118 comments)

I'm not sure they're that closely related to eels. I've had eel in a Chinese restaurant and I didn't find it as good as squid and octopus.

about two weeks ago
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How One Man Changed the Ecology of the Great Lakes With Salmon

swb Re:Why not fish for lamprey? (118 comments)

The article I read say they approximated squid, if less chewy. IMHO squid and octopus don't really have a strong flavor -- they really just represent whatever they are cooked in (the Greeks seem to have a flair for them, oil and herbal seasoning).

In fact, I think a lot of people could be served tripe if you cooked it like squid and never know the difference.

about two weeks ago

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